How to Follow my New Blog

Unpacking at my new blog! Image by Katie Tegtmeyer.

Greetings, my VC Out on a Lim followers!

I have finally started blogging again over at http://blog.janinelim.com.

Hope to hear from you!

Posted in VC Community | Tagged

“One Technology Girl” No Longer

Today is my last day at Berrien RESA as an Instructional Technology Consultant. I have accepted a position as Associate Dean for Higher Education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University (also here in Berrien Springs, MI) starting tomorrow!

I will be moving my blog over to http://blog.janinelim.com so that I can blog about a broader set of distance technologies: including videoconferencing, online learning, blended learning, and webinars / webconferencing. Soon, I’ll tell you more about my new job on that blog. There’s nothing there yet! Still have a bit of set up to do. I’ll let you know here when it’s ready for subscriptions.

But today, I’d like to thank all of you, my readers, for your great comments, input, and feedback over the 6+ years that I’ve blogged about videoconferencing. It’s been such a great learning journey and a great continuous conversation! I hope that you will continue the conversation with me on my new blog!

What will happen to VC Out on a Lim?

This blog is hosted on WordPress.com, and so will be here “forever” as vcoutonalim.wordpress.com for sure, and for another year or two as vcoutonalim.org.

I am also hoping to make an index to this blog sometime in the next month or two so it’s easier for you to find the information that is buried here. So watch for another post with that!

What about TWICE?

I’ll be staying on the TWICE board for another year at least. Sustainability plans are in place!

  • Sue Porter will continue to coordinate Read Around the Planet and be the front line support for CAPspace. Polycom‘s support of these two projects is still in place of course!
  • Scott Sherrill, our programmer for CAPspace will continue to improve the site. There are still many improvements we want to make to CAPspace!
  • Max Graves will take over the coordination of the TWICE Verification Partners.
  • The TWICE ASK committee has taken over the management of all the ASK programs, and billing will come from TWICE instead of Berrien RESA.

What about MysteryQuests?

The MysteryQuest and HistoryQuest sessions I’ve been running have been bequeathed by Berrien RESA to Whirlidurb, an excellent curriculum videoconferencing services provider. Roxanne Glaser, Content Director, is the best multipoint facilitator I’ve ever known, and she has assisted with materials development and facilitation slides for my Quests since 2007. In addition, Whirlidurb has the bridging capabilities (thanks to super bridge dude Shane Howard) to continue this project with a high level of quality for your experience.

Everything Else

The other videoconferencing activities of Berrien RESA, including VCcontentproviders.org and the Teachers’ Favorite Awards will be taken over by my replacement. Check our website in early September to get new contact information.

Keep in Touch

To keep in touch, please note these links/resources:

Thank you again for being part of my learning community and sharing feedback, ideas, resources, and suggestions!

Posted in VC Community | 3 Comments

Videoconference Playground at ISTE

Yesterday was the 2nd annual Video conference Playground at the ISTE 2011 Conference.

For those of you who missed this amazing event, here are a few resources you should review!

Captain Roxanne Glaser led an amazing team of pirate deck hands and volunteers! Hope YOU participate next year!

Pirate Captain Roxanne Glaser and @Tparks, pirate volunteer

(Thanks @TParks for the photo!)

Check Flickr next week for more pictures from the playground.

Posted in Collaborations

Thanking my Pirate Helpers

I had over 100 participants in my ISTE Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) session on CAPspace today (Collaborations Around the Planet). Great attendance, but wow, what a lot of people!

I knew I couldn’t handle it myself, with all the account creation and questions. So, I recruited several of the SIG IVC pirates to assist me. You should know them and friend them on CAPspace!!

Sue Porter

Lori Colwill

Amy Spath

Audra May

Elaine Shuck

Anne-Marie Miller

They were all decked out in aweomse pirate gear! Audra has the pictures, and they should be posted in the SIG IVC Flickr site in the next day or two.

In addition, Roxanne Glaser, Whirlidurb‘s Content Director, and Pirate Captain helped me chunk the workshop to best take advantage of the pirate assistance.

Thank you pirates for making such a smooth BYOL session!

Hope you all can visit the Videoconference Playground at ISTE tomorrow!

Posted in Collaborations | 1 Comment

Collaborations Around the Planet: Social Networking for Educational Videoconferencing

Links for today’s ISTE Bring Your Own Laptop workshop:

More about standards-based videoconferencing:

BYOL Workshop Evaluation

Additional resources

 

 

Posted in Collaborations

Designing Quality Videoconference Projects

ISTE workshop this morning! Here are links and resources Roxanne Glaser and I are using in the workshop:

Our Websites

Research

Skype Resources

Sample Projects

TWICE

Other Project Posting Sites

Additional Resources

Workshop Evaluation

Posted in Collaborations

The Problem with Free

As you know, I keep processing Skype vs. H.323 and other ramifications and changes in the videoconference world.

One thing I’ve been thinking about is how stable and sustainable a videoconference cart is. Our Polycom Viewstations from 1999 are for the most part still running! And teachers haven’t had to relearn how to use them in 11 years.

Some Free Videoconference Services

On the other hand, free services can be challenging. Free services I’ve heard mentioned in the last couple years include:

  • Oovoo
  • DimDim (oops, it’s gone already!)
  • Skype
  • TokBox (oops, it’s gone too!)
  • TinyChat
  • Can you think of any others?

Challenges of Free

  • Free services can have flaky, unreliable service. Think of the December 2010 2 day outage of Skype.
  • Think of the Delicious scare last December. The service could disappear just when you’ve gotten attached to it. (See Doug Johnson’s blog on tech longevity in the context of the Delicious scare)
  • Sustainability. You might try all these other free little VC tools. The quality is iffy & the site may go away.  You can certainly dabble in using it in your classroom; but if you want to do anything sustainable you need something you can count on.
  • Some teachers are happy to change up tech tools every six months or so. But many other teachers will not waste their time learning something they can’t count on being around in the future. Changing tech tools often jades them on technology and soon they don’t want to try anything new.
  • With free sites, often the product they are selling is YOU! Read more here. Do we really need that in education?!

What do you think? Does the “free-ness” of free tools outweigh the disadvantages? Or do you think we should be cautious and thoughtful about investing time and energy in free tools?

Posted in Desktop VC, Techie Stuff | 3 Comments

Board Meetings via Videoconference

The TWICE board has been meeting over videoconference since we started in 2001. The “Jazz workshop” leadership have always met over videoconferencing since it started in 2005.

So it’s a little amusing to me to read articles like this one from the Wall Street Journal. (Unfortunately I’m a little slow in blogging this 4/25/11 article, so you can only read the full article with a subscription now.)

As videoconferencing technology becomes more sophisticated, it is slowly moving up the corporate ladder to the boardroom.

In the article, board of director concerns with videoconferencing were listed while also describing the growing use of VC:

  • people feeling “at a distance”
  • people getting less involved over VC than they would face to face
  • lack of ability to have side conversations

You may think of additional issues from your experience.

On the TWICE board, we have tried to bridge the distance in a variety of ways:

  • Side conversations with a back channel chat tool such as Skype
  • A “roundtable” section at the end of the agenda for people to share their projects, programs, ideas, questions, issues
  • People make appointments with each other after the meeting for further conversation or switch to the phone after the VC
  • The chair of the meeting with call specifically on people who haven’t commented recently
  • We use the split screen to have everyone seen
  • We use thumbs up or similar gestures for voting or getting attention or requesting the floor
  • We meet TWICE a year face to face
  • We try to be deliberate about collaborating and connecting with each other outside of the official board meetings

What tips would you add for making videoconference board meetings more effective?

Posted in VC Community

Interviews via Videoconference

Well, it’s job interview season, and so I thought I’d share some links and resources for interviewing via videoconference.

What about you? Have you experienced a job interview via videoconference? From either the employer or prospective employee perspective? Tips or suggestions? Please comment!

Posted in VC Community

Behind the Scenes VC Tips and Tricks

As the school year winds down, I’ve been thinking about some of the strategies I use to make VCs as smooth as possible. Here are a couple of tips from a bridge control freak!

Force Video

When facilitating an ASK program with Janie Panagopoulos (a veteran VC-er), I forced the video to the school that came in late so she could see a new site. Then I quickly forced it back to her. Now she’s looking at the new school; and the other schools only saw a quick blip of that school coming in. Without interrupting her flow, I could send her a subtle message that the late school has joined.

During MysteryQuests, I like to force the video to the class that is presenting to avoid any switching. This also keeps their visuals up on screen even when the other classes are asking for clues to be repeated.

Sometimes my old Tandberg MPS acts up and the video flips like crazy. Sometimes I can fix that by forcing it to the presenting site and not allowing any video switching.

Mute Video

Another trick I discovered just this spring.

My old Tandberg MPS doesn’t get along with the Codian and RMX bridges. Both bridges tend to take over the conference so I can’t force video. Or in a scenario that happens with a couple of bridges in a south western state, the site coming in through the Codian takes over the conference and voice activation no longer works.

In both of these scenarios, I found a unique solution! Mute the video on the offending bridge!

In one MysteryQuest this spring, ALL the sites were coming in through bridges. Side rant: who in their right mind installs VC so schools can only connect through a bridge? I strongly believe they should be able to connect directly in addition to through a bridge. In that session, to make it work, I had to mute the video of all the other sites to make it work. The surprising good side effect though was that when teachers and students were seeing a loopback of their presentation, they could adjust posters and other visuals to make them easier to see.

What about you?

I realize that VC is moving towards end user control and away from bridge control. But when I’m running/facilitating/bridging a program, I like to make it as smooth and excellent an experience for the teachers and students as humanly possible. Yes, I’m a control freak!

What do you think of this kind of manipulation? Good/bad?

What other tips and tricks do you do?

Do you think new desktop VC solutions will allow for this kind of support during the program?

Posted in Techie Stuff | 1 Comment